Chromosomal passengers: the four-dimensional regulation of mitotic events

Chromosoma. 2004 Nov;113(5):211-22. doi: 10.1007/s00412-004-0307-3. Epub 2004 Sep 4.


Chromosomal passengers are proteins that are involved in coordinating the chromosomal and cytoskeletal events of mitosis. The passengers are present in cells as a complex with at least four members: Aurora B, a protein kinase; inner centromeric protein, an activation and targeting subunit; Survivin (function unknown) and Borealin (function also unknown). The kinase is activated at the onset of mitosis, at least partly accomplished by regulation of the levels of its constituents. As mitosis progresses, the kinase complex moves to a highly choreographed series of locations in the mitotic cell, activating key substrates at precise locations and specific times. Functions that require chromosomal passenger activity include chromatin modification (phosphorylation of histone H3), correction of kinetochore attachment errors, aspects of the spindle assembly checkpoint, assembly of a stable bipolar spindle and the completion of cytokinesis. The chromosomal passenger complex provides an essential mechanism for mitotic regulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aurora Kinase B
  • Aurora Kinases
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / metabolism
  • Chromatin / metabolism
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone / metabolism*
  • Chromosome Segregation*
  • Chromosomes / metabolism*
  • Cytokinesis
  • Histones / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Inhibitor of Apoptosis Proteins
  • Kinetochores
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / metabolism
  • Mitosis / physiology*
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism
  • Spindle Apparatus
  • Survivin


  • BIRC5 protein, human
  • CDCA8 protein, human
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Chromatin
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone
  • Histones
  • Inhibitor of Apoptosis Proteins
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Survivin
  • AURKB protein, human
  • Aurora Kinase B
  • Aurora Kinases
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases